Phew, Orkubo’s Castle ended without a hitch.
It’s me again, Kidan.
I’m going down the castle with the feudal lord and his wife, who finished their battle.
Huh? She’s not your wife?
Oh well, let’s leave it at that.
Our destination is the village at the foot of the mountain.
Looking back, this is where the commotion started.
The village became our teleportation waypoint for the eliminated soldiers. Right now, they’re being served pork miso soup as a consolation prize.
“What is this soup? It’s so rich and flavorful! It’s full of all sorts of ingredients too!”
“Ah, we’re all safe, sire! This pork miso soup they call is so delicious!”
“Huh? Miso soup?!”
It’s common practice to eat pork miso soup after a good workout, after all.
The bonito flakes we made recently give the soup a rich and refined flavor.
“Oh, wow. Everyone looks better than I expected…”
“What were we fighting for, I wonder?”
The feudal lord and his wife look weary.
“Lord Saint, Lord Saint,” says Batemy as she pokes me. “They’re not a couple.”
“Huh? They’re not? I could’ve sworn they were…”
“I’m not surprised, considering the atmosphere they have around them. I guess it’s just a matter of time.”
It feels so festive with the two hundred and fifty soldiers suddenly arriving at this small village.
The villagers are also enjoying the pork miso soup.
“It’s good that my territory is lively, even if it’s only one part of it.”
Indeed, feudal lord.
“But then there’s a problem that cannot be left unsettled.”
Orkubo and I sit side-by-side in front of him.
“Unauthorized construction of a castle in my territory is a dangerous and unacceptable military act. Castles are built for war, and that fact is absolute.”
“I alone may have been convinced, but there is no telling how the people around us will react, especially now that the former Human Kingdom is under the Demon Kingdom’s occupation. We must refrain from any move that could be seen as an act of rebellion.”
I don’t blame them if they think their opponent is trying to wage another war or is expanding their military upon seeing them build a castle.
“…S-So, what will happen to the castle that the orcs built?”
“It pains me to say this, but it has to be destroyed.”
Orkubo and I start clinging to the feudal lord.
“We beg of you, sir, anything but that! My orcs shed blood, sweat, and tears to build that castle!!!”
“We’ll listen to whatever you say, so please let us keep the castle, sir! It’s our newly-built precious castle!!!”
Myself aside, if Orkubo clings on to someone, it’s highly likely that they’ll be crushed to death.
I mean, it’s like having a bear or a lion cling to you.
“It’s not like I’m being inconsiderate by telling you this! I’m just concerned about my territory and its surroundings and want to avoid any problems…”
“In that case,” says the demoness Varlina.
She’s wearing a charming dress.
“You’re already wearing the dress you won?!”
“We were in the middle of measuring my sizes…”
I can see that the young feudal lord is entirely captivated by her dress.
“We can turn things around so that it’s in the best interest of everyone.”
“We can just make the entire former Human Kingdom…no, even the Demon Kingdom experience the same thing we did!!!”
“We will proclaim that we have created the first and perhaps the last attraction in our territory hosted by Lord Dalkish. Then, we will recruit challengers from all over the world!”
“Ohh, I see! That way, the whole world will know that Orkubo’s Castle isn’t a dangerous building!”
I feel like this conversation is going in a grand direction, though.
“But Lady Varlina, we can’t just go ahead with that plan! We need permission from the occupation government before anything else!”
“You can leave that to me! This is our chance to enrich our territory!”
The way she keeps saying “our territory” really makes it seem like they’re already one big family…
“If we collect an entrance fee from challengers around the world, our financial situation will drastically improve! And the more famous our territory becomes, the easier it will be for renowned scholars and martial artists to visit us!”
“…Oh! I see!”
“This is a chance we mustn’t let go of if we want our territory to flourish! For my future and yours!”
The feudal lord has been wholly incorporated into the demoness’s future plans.
You’re talking to me, right?
“You’ll be managing things as a matter of course, won’t you? If you refuse, we’ll demolish that castle immediately.”
“We are willing to comply with your terms!!!”
Varlina has strong negotiation skills.
Thus, we ended up planning another round of Orkubo’s Castle with the approval of the feudal lord.
Well, we’re doing it as an apology for building the castle in their territory without permission. But above all, everyone wants to keep having fun.
Based on the experience of the feudal lord’s group, we’ll remodel the castle where the challengers can bewilderingly experience thrill and despair with a more intense balance between difficulty and enjoyability!
It would take about three months to get permission from the feudal lord’s side, advertise and recruit challengers, so we’ll work hard till then.
We held our project meetings energetically.
“Don’t you think way too many participants were eliminated at the first obstacle?”
“It went from two hundred and fifty to eighty at once. If too many people are eliminated at the beginning, the rest of the game won’t be as enjoyable.”
“We have to control how many people will be eliminated at every stage.”
“Each design has its own appropriate number of people, so we should reconsider the order of the obstacles based on that.”
“Why don’t we also bring back my trial where I obstruct their path?”
“NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!”
We might as well turn it into an impossibly hard game if we’re going to include you too, Veil!!!
Thus, time passed in the blink of an eye as we prepared for Orkubo’s Castle and developed new dishes.
One winter day, big news knocked on my door.
Platy is pregnant!!!
It’s definitely my child!
Making full use of the Lamaze technique taught to her by the sea mother goddess Amphitrite, she brought out the maximum power from her blessing and finally conceived a child with an otherworlder!
Way to go, Platy!
A princess, a witch, and a mermaid!
“I can’t believe I’m finally going to be a mother. Am I even worthy of being one?”
Even before her baby bump is visible, she’s already feeling anxious.
“You’ll be fine. You manage things well here on the farm, so I’m sure you can discipline your own child.”
“I will do my best to protect the expecting mother and her child!”
Puffer, who is accompanying Prince Arowana on his journey, just so happens to have returned.
Lampeye is also thrilled.
I guess blessings from one’s own race are the most passionate, after all.
Platy’s pregnancy was confirmed by Amphitrite, who personally came to announce her conception.
She said she’s been pregnant for three months, so does that mean she conceived right after she started her training?!
If the training’s results were immediate, then what was the purpose of the rest?
“Phew, I can finally take a breather now. I even preserved my honor.”
What are you talking about? We’ve just started the long journey to pregnancy and childbirth.
And what do you mean you preserved your honor?
“With the other mermaids also getting into relationships, it’s not surprising if they’re expecting a baby sooner or later, you know?”
My gaze shifts to the side.
Puffer and Lampeye are blatantly whistling.
“I’m the first mermaid here to get married! But if the others get ahead of me in baby-making, it’ll be a complete loss of face for me!!!”
“IS THAT THE REAL REASON YOU WANTED TO HAVE A BABY?!” shouts me, Puffer, and Lampeye.
The mother’s intentions for wanting to have a baby aside, the baby just has to wait until they’re born.